Hussein-Ali Montazeri

Hussein-Ali Montazeri
Hussein-Ali Montazeri portrait photograph of 1978.jpg
Deputy Supreme Leader of Iran
In office
10 November 1985 – 13 March 1989
Supreme LeaderRuhollah Khomeini
Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam
In office
12 September 1979 – 14 January 1980
Appointed byRuhollah Khomeini
Preceded byMahmoud Taleghani
Succeeded byAli Khamenei
Chairman of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution
In office
19 August 1979 – 15 November 1979
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution
In office
15 August 1979 – 15 November 1979
ConstituencyTehran Province
Majority1,672,980 (66.24%)
Personal details
Born(1922-09-24)24 September 1922
Najafabad, Iran
Died19 December 2009(2009-12-19) (aged 87)
Qom, Iran
Resting placeFatima Masumeh Shrine
NationalityIranian
Political partySociety of Seminary Teachers of Qom
Spouse(s)
Mah-Sultan Rabbani (m. 1942–2009)
Children3 - Ahmad Montazeri (son)
Theological work
ReligionIslam
DenominationTwelver Shīʿā
SchoolJaʿfari
Main interestsFiqh, Irfan, Islamic philosophy, Islamic ethics, Hadith
Notable ideasGuardianship of the Islamic Jurist, Islamic democracy
Years active1934–2009
Alma materQom Seminary
Taught atQom Seminary
Feyziyeh Seminary

Hussein-Ali Montazeri (24 September 1922[1][2] – 19 December 2009; Persian: حسینعلی منتظری‎‎, About this sound pronunciation ) was an Iranian Shia Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate, writer and human rights activist. He was one of the leaders of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He was once the designated successor to the revolution's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, with whom he had a falling-out in 1989 over government policies that Montazeri claimed infringed on people's freedom and denied them their rights. Montazeri spent his later years in Qom, and remained politically influential in Iran, especially to the reformist movement.[3] He was widely known as the most knowledgeable senior Islamic scholar in Iran[4] and a Grand Marja (religious authority) of Shia Islam.

For more than two decades, Hussein-Ali Montazeri was one of the main critics of the Islamic Republic's domestic and foreign policy. He had also been an active advocate of Baha'i rights, civil rights and women's rights in Iran. Montazeri was a prolific writer of books and articles. He was a staunch proponent of an Islamic state, and he argued that post-revolutionary Iran was not being ruled as an Islamic state.

Early life and public career

Born in 1922, Montazeri was from a peasant family in Najafabad,[5][6] a city in Isfahan Province, 250 miles south of Tehran.

His early theological education was in Isfahan. After Khomeini was forced into exile by the Shah, Montazeri "sat at the center of the clerical network" which Khomeini had established to fight the Pahlavi rule. He became a teacher at the Faiziyeh Theological School. While there he answered Khomeini's call to protest the White Revolution of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in June 1963 and was active in anti-Shah clerical circles.[7] He was sent to prison in 1974 and released in 1978 in time to be active during the revolution.[8] Montazeri then went to Qom where he studied theology.[9]

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